In the previous article I talked about what makes decomposed granite pathways (also known as DG) such an attractive alternative to concrete. DG pathways typically cost $4-$6 per square foot for a contractor to install. But you can do it yourself for half of that price. Now let’s go through the steps for creating a DG pathway;
1) Using some rope, layout your pathway. This will enable you to calculate the square footage of your project and help visualize the length and width of your pathway.
2) Calculate the amount of DG you will need for your project. Take the total square footage of your pathway and divide by 90. That will give you the total cubic yards of DG you need to order. 1 cubic yard of DG will cover 90 square feet to a depth of 3 inches after the DG is compacted. Here is a math example; Your pathway is 60 feet long by 3 feet wide, 60 x 3 = 180 square feet. 180 divided by 90 = 2 cubic yards of DG needed to cover the pathway.
3) Select the color, KRC Rock has a terrific webpage that shows some of these colors. Not all of the colors on their webpage are carried in stock and some are more expensive than others.
4) When you order the DG make sure that the vendor pre-mixes a stabilizer solution with the DG. This will make for a much more stable pathway in the long run.
5) Next, using 3 inch tall synthetic bender boards, create a border for your pathway. You will need to secure the bender board in place with small garden stakes (6 inch stakes should do). Small rocks can also be used to create the border as seen in the photo below.
6) Excavate the soil down to the bottom of the bender boards. You do not need a perfectly level surface, however the soil should be fairly firm. If it is not, then run a compacter (see photo above for what a compacter looks like) on the soil to firm it up.
7) Lay a heavy duty weed block down to stop weeds from coming up through your pathway.
8) Put down a layer of DG approximately 1.5 inches deep. Smooth it with a rake and then compact it with either a rolling drum or a gas powered compacter. This layer should compact down to about an inch in thickness.
9) Hose down the pathway lightly. You are just trying to get the entire path slightly wet, but not enough to create puddles.
10) Let the path dry for 6-8 hours, longer if the weather is cool and damp.
11) Repeat steps 8-10 for the next layer, again, you should finish with a layer an inch thick.
12) After the path is dry, lay the remaining amount of DG down and repeat steps 8-10.
13) Once you have laid all the DG down and the path is dry (usually the next day). Sweep any lose pebbles to the edge of the path and run the compacter along the entire path one more time.